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Call for screening for killer heart condition

The Forum has added its voice to a campaign for the national screening of men over 60 for AAA.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a swelling in the aorta, the body's main artery, as it passes through the abdomen. If the aorta ruptures it can kill. Some 6,000 British men lose their lives every year in this way and it is becoming more common. However, AAAs can be easily detected using an ultrasound scan.

A recent study of screening men over 65 in Gloucestershire found that it reduced mortality from aneurysm disease by 42% after four years of follow up. If a ruptured aneurysm is treated as an emergency, mortality exceeds 50% in most hospitals; if the aneurysm can be detected earlier and treatment is planned in advance, mortality falls to 3%. Other research confirms these findings.

Dr Howard Stoate MP said: 'The studies show that a screening programme could save thousands of lives and would meet the government's criteria for establishing a scheme. I have therefore asked the Secretary of State if he will launch a screening programme for those most vulnerable — men over 60.'

The National Screening Committee will report on screening for AAAs in the autumn. In the meantime, Dr Stoate and the are asking MPs to back Dr Stoate's Early Day Motion calling for screening. Members of the public who support screening can also write to their MP.

  • Click here to view the EDM
  • There is more on AAA on our sister site malehealth including an interview with Bernard Bush. He is that medical rarity, an AAA survivor, and has set up the first support group and website to camapign for AAA screening. Click here.

Page created on August 2nd, 2004

Page updated on December 1st, 2009